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The best games of 2019 with ESL flashcards


Flashcards are the holy grail to ESL teaching. They can be used for basic activities such as drilling new vocabulary too much more advanced exercises that will get all your students engaged. We will provide you with the best ways to create ESL flashcards and some of the best activities to play.


Some of the best ESL flashcards out there


There are many different ways of making flashcards and each has its own disadvantages and advantages. Let’s have a look at some of the flashcards we can make.


· Index flashcards


The most famous of all flashcards must be index cards. On one hand, have the word and on the other have a picture or a description. They can be used for practically any activity one can think of.


A creative way to have every student own a set of personalized index cards is by providing them with blank cards. Next, show the vocabulary words you want them to learn and have them write one word on one side of each card. Finally, students can either draw a picture of the words or get magazines and let them look for pictures in there.

These activities are very suitable for younger learners since it combines arts and crafts with learning. For high-level students have them write descriptions instead. You’ll be surprised how little your students know about good study habits, so teach them at least one.


· Laminated flashcards


Laminated flashcards are ideal for teachers that teach similar lessons often. You’ll find that if you teach at an ESL company, you might teach a different class the same lesson three or four times. Creating new flashcards becomes a hassle and having laminated ones just looks more professional anyway.


Additionally, you can make flashcards that are larger than normal, so students can write on them. The advantage of laminated cards is that they are easy to clean. Make sure that students practice with a marker, not a pen.


· Sticky notes


A very simplistic, yet useful, version of flashcards is sticky notes. They are ideally suited for quick exercises in which need a refresher. Another good use of sticky notes is when you are brainstorming, using a mind map or any other creative activity. Hand each student a couple of sticky notes and have them write down their ideas. Next, stick the notes onto your whiteboard in their appropriate categories.


Our top 2 ESL flashcard games


We have made a comprehensive list of activities you can play in your class. Feel free to use these or adapt them to your classroom specifics


. 3 cup game


A well-known street hustler game turned into a suitable ESL activity. Have your students sit in pairs and give each pair 3 cups. The dealer will place a flashcard under each cup, and show this to the player. The dealer now switches the cups around as fast as he/she can. When the dealer is done, the player points at each cup and tells the dealer which flashcard is hidden underneath.


. Alaka-Zam


A group activity in which 4 students have one set of flashcards. Ideally, have cards that only have a word on one side, but are blank on the other. You’ll need an additional 5 cards for each group, three cards that say Alaka and two that say Zam.

The rules are simple, a student turns over a card and pronounces the word. If the student says the word correctly, he/she can keep the card, however, if incorrect the card will return to the stack on the table.


When a student gets an Alaka card, he/she points to another student who needs to guess the next three cards on the desk. If correct he/she can keep all three cards.

Finally, if a student draws a Zam card, he/she can switch her stack of correctly answered cards with one of the other players. The winner, the one with the most cards collected, is decided when all cards have been collected by the players.

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